Case Study Holbein Place

Holbein Place, London

Living Wall Holbein Place, London, SW1

Completed June 2023

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The Brief

To design, supply and fit two large Living Walls (total area 141m2) on the North and South side of the building to showcase its biodiversity and ecological credentials in line with the Grosvenor Great Britain and Ireland commitment to a 100% biodiversity increase on their developments by 2030.

Grosvenor proposed a significant refurbishment of the 1980’s office building next to Sloane Square tube station, with a top floor extension. They wished to showcase the development as their flagship sustainable building.

We worked closely with Barr Gazekas architects on the green walls.

The Challenge

The Northside of the building faced onto Network Rail track lines which posed considerable H&S challenges during the installation of the living wall.

There was a requirement for working between the hours of 1am – 5am when trains were not running and to keep noise to a minimum.

With a shady North elevation and a sunny South facing elevation, our vertical garden plant choice was challenging as we had to have a plant topography and texture to trap PM 10’s as well as increasing biodiversity by way of pollinators.

The Approach (Design & logistics)

The steel sub-frame design used re-cycled steel from the old American Embassy.

Due to the depth of the sub-frame, trims for the window reveals and edging detail were all bespoke and powder coated.

In order to choose the correct plants or each elevation, we carried out a microclimate and sunlight study.

The planting design was carried out again in collaboration with Barr Gazetas architects and Lloydbore Ecology.

Our planting palette was put together with a focus on pollinators to increase the Biodiversity Net Gain of the building. The main design lines form organic shapes and patterns as you would see in marble textures or landscape contours. Within these shapes we used a mix-up of different species and textures offering interest and sustainable contrasts.

All works to the North elevation were carried out with using a MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform) between 1AM and 5AM. To keep noise to a minimum, we didn’t use impact drivers and the MEWP engine was turned off as we reached working height. Head torches were used during construction.

The Result/ Outcome

Working with Blenheim House Construction Blenheim House Construction (, we have helped create a flagship sustainable building in line with the Grosvenor Biodiversity Strategy.

The lush living walls combine architectural design with environmental consciousness, offering numerous benefits to both the occupants and the surrounding ecosystem.

The integration of plants into the building's structure creates an aesthetically pleasing environment while improving air quality, regulating temperature, reducing noise, and promoting biodiversity.

By embracing living walls, architects and developers can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

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The Future Plan

To continue to work with architects and construction companies to share knowledge to help overcome the challenges of installing sustainable vertical gardens so that we can fulfil the biodiversity net gain requirements that are so important in making our cities healthier and more sustainable places to live, work and play.

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